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Abducted Girl's Bravery and Resourcefulness Are Praised

Prosecutor calls her 'extraordinary,' and police tell of key details she provided them.

June 12, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The 9-year-old girl abducted from her home tried to outsmart her kidnapper by telling him she had asthma and could die without medication -- then helped authorities to a quick arrest by memorizing his home address, the girl's mother said.

"I taught my daughter to be very observant and strong," Roselia Tamayo said Wednesday outside her San Jose home. "She knows how to fight."

Authorities praised the girl's "heroics and aggressiveness" as they pressed their case against the kidnapping suspect, Enrique Sosa Alvarez. The 23-year-old was arraigned Wednesday on nine felony counts, including rape, sexual assault, assault and burglary.

Alvarez waived the formal reading of his charges in Santa Clara County Superior Court and agreed to further proceedings scheduled for July 1.

His attorney, Public Defender Carl Beatty, said that he would offer more evidence and that his client might enter a plea at the July 1 hearing, but the lawyer did not elaborate.

Beatty was appointed to represent Alvarez only hours before the hearing.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Braker said the girl was sexually attacked in her home Friday, then taken to the abductor's home and assaulted repeatedly Sunday morning.

The kidnapper then reportedly drove her to a liquor store 30 miles away, where she called her mother's cell phone and gave police key details, including the attacker's address. Police found Sosa hiding in the attic of the home, which belonged to his former girlfriend. When he became "uncooperative, they used a police dog to apprehend him," Braker said.

"Every person who has come in contact with" the victim "has acknowledged that she is an extraordinary young girl," he said after the arraignment.

Braker would not discuss whether the girl was held in a box during her two-day ordeal. The girl's aunt told the San Jose Mercury News that the attacker kept her niece in a cardboard box and fed her only a slice of pizza all weekend. The girl's mother repeated those details Wednesday, but other authorities say the girl hasn't mentioned a box.

Between the girl's persuasive ability and the intense media coverage, Alvarez got rattled Sunday night, drove her to a store several cities away and "basically told her to get out of the car," Braker said.

Within hours, she had given authorities enough key details to help police pinpoint Alvarez's location. Among the information that police believe helped solve the abduction were many digits of the kidnapper's cell phone number that the girl remembered and her account of a pizza delivery, which police tracked to a house near where she was taken Friday after returning home alone from school.

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